Brill’s New Pauly

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(370 words)

[German version]

Greek and Roman armies used tactical signals, Latin signa (cf. Greek σημεῖα/sēmeîa) for the transmission of orders in camp and on the battlefield. Vegetius lists three kinds of signal (Veg. Mil. 3,5,3; cf. Arr. Tact. 27): (a) signa vocalia, voice-signals: soldiers' passwords (tessera) for guard duties and for battle; (b) signa semivocalia, acoustic signals with the aid of signaling instruments (tuba, cornu, bucina: Musical instruments VI.): musical commands to engage the enemy, to halt, to pursue or retreat (Veg. Mil. 2,22); in camp, signals f…

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Kolb, Frank (Tübingen), “Signals”, in: Brill’s New Pauly, Antiquity volumes edited by: Hubert Cancik and , Helmuth Schneider, English Edition by: Christine F. Salazar, Classical Tradition volumes edited by: Manfred Landfester, English Edition by: Francis G. Gentry. Consulted online on 25 January 2022 <>
First published online: 2006
First print edition: 9789004122598, 20110510

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